Tom Ross: Donate your time and energy to government

During a speech at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, Former UNC system president Tom Ross said “that in the wake of a historically divisive election American democracy is ‘inching toward failure.’”

For the most part, it’s pretty much the typical liberal/academic stuff you’re seeing on social media: scared, angry white people “voted based on emotion rather than facts or issues.”

I expected that from a guy like Ross, but then the other shoe drops (emphasis mine):

There is no “miracle solution” for fixing our current political system, Ross said. He encouraged members of the standing-room crowd to donate their time and energy to government. Addressing the students in attendance, he encouraged them to consider careers in government after graduation, reminding them that they are “the ones who can really make a difference.”

He also asked people to remind their friends and families about the good that government does – and what it costs to do that good.

“Stop taking things for granted, and think about how government matters to us,” he said. “Help people understand that it isn’t free. Roads aren’t free. Sewer systems aren’t free. You have to invest in those. That infrastructure requires an investment. It’s called taxes. We have to invest. We don’t get the returns if we don’t make the investment.”

To be fair to Ross, that’s not a direct quote, so it’s possible the News & Observer reporter’s paraphrasing was a bit off. Whatever the case, let me just say that anyone suggesting that we “donate our time and energy to government” is a far more dangerous sign that our republic is inching toward failure than the fair square election of Donald Trump.

At last we can denounce the racism and antifeminism of Greek yogurt

greek yogurt(I suppose I should include a “trigger warning” for the highly suggestible types.)

Earlier this year I theorized why professors say such abjectly stupid things as “canoes reek of genocide” and pumpkins bespeak a “perilous whiteness.”

There has to be some explanation why supposedly intelligent people are discovering atrocious racism, sexism, and so forth in the blandest, most harmless things imaginable. Right?

My theory is basically this: social-justice scholars have worked for decades, in a publish-or-perish environment, “discovering” things in society that supposedly reek of racism, sexism, etc.

This is a problem for new scholars because all the “good” bad stuff is taken. Earlier academics have already laid claims on the obvious bad -ist things. A scholar looking to publish needs to find a new racist, sexist, ad nauseam thing.

By now, however, the only things left undenounced are benign things. Such as canoes, pumpkins, and now, Greek yogurt. Here’s the abstract; there’s not one sentence in there that isn’t larded-up, jargony nonsense:

Using a transnational and comparative cultural studies approach, this essay investigates how yogurt, perceived as a strange and foreign food in the early to mid-twentieth-century United States, became localized through intersectional processes of feminization and de-exoticization. In the transition from the 1970s to the 1980s, the dairy industry adopted a postfeminist ethos, which co-opted the hippie and feminist self-care movements that had made yogurt a staple health food outside the purview of the medical-industrial complex and on the margins of the market economy. Increasingly, yogurt was marketed to the prototypical (white middle class) dieting female, expected to discipline her body by consuming pre-proportioned approximations of dessert. The rising popularity of “Greek yogurt” in the early twenty-first century has modified this cultural neutralization by foregrounding a nonthreatening “white” ethnicity—while furthering the feminization of yogurt consumption and obscuring connections to the food cultures of the Middle East.

Someone needs to alert the editors of Washington Post about this, though. Right now they think not eating Greek yogurt is xenophobia that somehow gets back to Donald Trump. (In their defense, it is hard to keep upright with the shifting sands of relativistic “truth.”)

A note to an aspiring young social-justice scholar seeking publication: I think there is still time to denounce the horrific racism of promoting niceness to others, as your nonacademic peers in Raleigh have demonstrated.

State Superintendent June Atkinson farewell remarks

June and I have had our share of differences through the years.  But those differences never became personal.  Most differences of opinion really shouldn’t.  In fact, “important” policy debates and political disagreements often took a backseat to a discussion of my boys’ teachers or my wife’s middle school. I always appreciated that.

Most importantly, I never doubted her sincere desire to improve public education in North Carolina.  I wish her the very best in 2017 and beyond.

d6OsVKUvfdwUYrbXAbUSRrNgRfhSIdrAMPQYZyMZ7KYpX92IBStoops offspring #2 and June from November 7, 2013

WRAL video of her farewell remarks to the N.C. State Board of Education, December 1, 2016

JLF chairman featured in National Review’s ‘What Next?’ issue

cover_20161205_tocJohn Hood’s contribution to National Review‘s special post-election issue focuses on state-level electoral gains for conservatives.

Indiana is only one of a number of states — including Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, and Florida — where dramatic gains in conservative policy and highly competitive politics go hand in hand. Republicans have more power in states today than they’ve had at any time since the 1920s. At this writing, the GOP has 33 governors, 31 lieutenant governors, 29 state attorneys general 31 secretaries of state, and functional control of 67 legislative chambers, with 30 controlled by Democrats and the other two tied or still pending.

If you compare these results with those of the presidential and Senate races, you quickly see that Republicans aren’t just winning down-ballot races in consistently red states. They’ve captured statewide offices or control of legislative chambers in places such as Minnesota, Illinois, New Mexico, Colorado, Maryland, and Massachusetts. It’s the Democrats whose strength is disproportionately concentrated in just a few blue strongholds. In fact, in half the states, the GOP has a governor and full legislative control of both state governing bodies. Democrats have such a trifecta in only six states.

Republicans have certainly surfed favorable national waves in the states in such years as 1994, 2010, 2014, and now 2016. But that’s far from the whole story. Democrats have had their own wave years, most recently in 2006 and 2o08. Across these political oscillations, Republicans have simply recruited stronger candidates, built better party structures, raised more money, and outmaneuvered their Democratic counterparts. The result is clear.

At the same time, conservatives across the states have done a better job than liberals at putting together grassroots organizations, effective think tanks, alternative media and messaging outfits, and a set of ideas that are both transformational and practical. In conservatively governed states, taxes are lower and structured in ways that are less injurious to investment and entrepreneurship. Regulatory codes are less rigid and counterproductive. Citizens have more choices in education and health care. Entitlements such as cash assistance and unemployment insurance cost less and are less likely to ensnare people in long-term dependency.

The growing costs of regulatory overreach

Paul Bedard reports for the Washington Examiner that the costs associated with federal regulation have reached a new milestone.

The new implementation of EPA rules on heavy trucks has boosted the 10-year regulatory burden on America past $1 trillion, 75 percent of which have been imposed by the Obama administration.

That amounts to a one-time charge of $3,080 per person, or an annual cost of $540, according to a new analysis from American Action Forum.

“In other words, each year every person, regardless of age, in the nation is responsible for paying roughly $540 in regulatory costs. These burdens might take the form of higher prices, fewer jobs, or reduced wages,” said AAF’s Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the watchdog group.

The staggering amount is likely to surge even higher as President Obama scrambles to lock in several environmental regulations before leaving office. He has already broken records for new regulations and added red tape this year and still has 50 days in office.

Incoming President-elect Trump has promised to kill two current regulations for every new one he adds.

The new high in regulatory costs, said Batkins, came after new fuel standards for trucks were implemented.

His study goes back to 2005, when George W. Bush was president, and said that Obama is responsible for about three quarters of the added regulatory costs.

Tracking lefty professors

Annabel Scott reports for the Daily Caller on a new effort to keep tabs on professors who can’t keep their left-wing politics out of the classroom.

Turning Point USA, a conservative organization made up of high school and college students, has compiled a website database of more than 200 professors at universities across the nation that “discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”

The website,, doesn’t list just any professo­r — TPUSA requires proof.

“This watchlist is an aggregated list of pre-existing news stories that were published by a variety of news organizations,” the website states. “While we accept tips for new additions on our website, we only publish profiles on incidents that have already been reported by a credible source.”

The website also says that TPUSA is not attempting to silence the professors on the list, but instead they are exposing “specific incidents and names of professors that advance a radical agenda in lecture halls.”

Since its recent debut, the list has seen no shortage of harsh criticism.

Slate author Rebecca Schuman deemed the watchlist “grotesque,” and called it “a stock agency for photos of self-satisfied young white people.”

“Intentionally or not, the Professor Watchlist, simply by being a self-styled watch list, has aligned itself with the ugly, frightening new political status quo,” writes Schuman. “This is, indeed, a turning point in our country, a time of fear unprecedented on this continent since the Second World War. Fear of being placed on a list, targeted as undesirable, and subjected to whatever happens next.”

Schuman also compared TPUSA members and the organization as a whole to an angry violent mob, stating, “this list watches over us at our country’s darkest turning point, poised to inflame the tinder-dry, gasoline-soaked pitchforks of a mob that has just stepped boldly into the light.”

At least the watchlist would help recruiters know whom to avoid when they staff the new and improved university.

The myth of red and blue states

Brandon Finnigan reminds us at National Review Online that the idea of “red” and “blue” states is more myth than fact.

It is foolish to look at the national map as a collection of red and blue states. Over the long march of time, all of them are purple.

Utah voted for Johnson. Georgia voted for Clinton. Texas for Carter. New York for Reagan. California for H.W. Bush. Minnesota for Nixon.

States may favor, for a variety of reasons, one party, but they are not permanently locked in — crackpot conspiracies of deliberate demographic changes through immigration and equally crackpot proclamations of demographics-driven eternal victories be equally damned.

It is much better to think of the states as giant continental plates, always slowly moving across a mantle of voter restlessness. This continues until a candidate, event, or some combination forces a political earthquake — like 2016. The changes are constant, and are almost always evident if you look carefully enough.

The law of unintended consequences strikes again

Victor Davis Hanson describes another example of the oft-ignored law in his latest National Review Online column.

The mix of politics and culture is far too complex to be predictable. Even the best-laid political plans can lead to unintended consequences, both good and bad — what we sometimes call irony, nemesis, or karma.

Take the election of 2008, which ushered Barack Obama and the Democrats into absolute control of the presidency, House, and Senate, also generating popular goodwill over Obama’s landmark candidacy.

Instead of ensuring a heralded generation of Democratic rule, Obama alienated both friends and foes almost immediately. He rammed through the unworkable Affordable Care Act without a single Republican vote. He prevaricated about Obamacare’s costs and savings. Huge budget deficits followed. Racial polarization ensued. Apologies abroad on behalf of America proved a national turnoff.

By the final pushback of 2016, the Obama administration had proven to be a rare gift to the Republican party. The GOP now controls the presidency, Congress, governorships, and state legislatures to a degree not seen since the 1920s. “Hope and change” ebullition in 2008 brought the Republicans salvation — and the Democrats countless disasters.